Well, if anyone is still around, I apologize. Itʻs been a wild year and a half for our family.
The end of 2014 was full of the angst of the hurricane and a few other large storms, one of which took out our greenhouse, and the lava flow which took part of a cemetery and exactly one house in a nearby town. Thankfully, it slowed and eventually stopped at the lower end of the flow. Itʻs still flowing merrily at the top, but not, at the moment, threatening any human habitations. Sometimes, I look at the vent - itʻs about ten miles away and sometimes I can see it smoking - and ponder Mauna Loa, which periodically inflates - and wonder in a way I never have the entire 20 years weʻve lived here whether someday weʻll face what Pāhoa faced.
2015 was filled with finishing my National Board for Professional Teaching Standards work, waiting semi-agonizingly for the results (I passed, Thank God, great kids, and a wonderful mentor), and dealing with surgeries: cancer (husbandʻs), pneumothorax (son, 100% collapse of left lung), a bout of pneumonia (mine) - or maybe the flu: I was too busy handling the surgeries to figure out why I had a 103 fever for six days and a yucky junky cough for much longer - and yay! baby bucklings.
Rufus and Biscuit joined the family in December of 2015. We bottle fed them from a bucket fitted with nipples for three months and they are quite merrily a part of the family now.
Since then, weʻve had one more (much smaller) pneumothorax - same son - much angst over college and scholarship applications and a few more family medical emergencies. Folks, I am a complete emotional mess and waiting for the school year to end - joyfully and semi-emotionally, as three of my four kids graduate from one school or another (two from college and one from high school). I look at my kids and see these beautiful, wonderful young adults, and I also see the enthusiastic, loving little folks they used to be, and itʻs killing me. I am so proud of the now-people and I miss so much the then-people. And if I think this is bad...I suspect the baby graduating next year will well and truly put me more firmly into emotional basketcase-ness.
I have to explain graduations at the high school where I teach and where my kids attend. Itʻs one big emotional, beautiful, crazy wonderful ceremony - hula, chanting, singing, Hawaiian names that take half a page to write and which tell a whole story in the one name (my kids arenʻt that lucky - their Hawaiian names consist of one Hawaiian noun each - well actually, my second child has two middle names, but thatʻs another story). The song that they each sing breaks my heart every single year. Itʻs called "The Prayer" and they sing in four-part harmony in both English and Hawaiian. If you are a parent, it is guaranteed to kill you. I have been to years of these graduations; itʻs the same song every time and it kills me every, every time, but especially in the years my personal kids, my biological kids, graduate.
Soon, I know it will be too soon, my oldest son will get that job that heʻs been working so hard for (cʻmon Google, hire the kid - heʻs awesome) and leave the islands. My oldest child will find her place and I can only hope itʻs still here in Hawai'i, and my younger son will be off to college. I have one more year with one child in the nest, and then itʻs a new phase of life.
I wonder what it will be like, and I mourn the life I am leaving, all at the same time.